Timothy Dolan and Meir Soloveichik, religious leaders in RNC limelight
In the run-up to the RNC, there was much talk over which religious leader would deliver the invocation (now scheduled for just after 2 p.m. ET Tuesday) and closing prayers.
While Mitt Romney, a practicing Mormon, has notably offered little insight into his faith, the rumour mill churned with speculation that a representative from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would be given opening or closing honours.
By now, we know it wasn't meant to be. The GOP pegged Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik, who is somewhat of a superstar in Modern Orthodox circles, to recite the invocation and New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to offer closing prayers.
It seems clear that tabbing Dolan is a well-timed gambit by Romney to steer Catholic voters away from Obama, who recently endorsed same-sex marriage and is in a simmering war with Catholic bishops over his administration's requirement that health insurance plans for Catholic hospital and school workers cover birth control. Dolan, of course, has sided with the bishops.
Yet, a Dolan spokesperson told the New York Times last week that the cardinal's speech does not amount to an endorsement. And the Archdiocese of New York confirmed Tuesday that Dolan will also recite closing prayers next month at the Democratic National Convention.
Soloveichik, it seems, won't be playing both sides. He testified in Congress last February on the employee health insurance question and also co-authored a Wall Street Journal op-ed on the matter. That's but a glimpse into Soloveichik's long history as a conservative advocate, which Tablet magazine discusses at length in a Monday profile.
A frequent contributor to Commentary, a right-leaning magazine, Soloveichik, director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at New York's Yeshiva University, has burnished his conservative credentials over the years by defending torture, opposing stem-cell research and protesting Roe v. Wade.
But he does love Harry Potter, Tablet reports.